Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No, your ScrumMaster will not just “whip up a backlog” for you

As Agile practices have been communicated to all segments of industry, you see well meaning but completely clueless recruiters and HR groups post the most interesting requests. “SM/BA desperately needed”, “SM required, must have 10 years Development experience”, “Looking for Agile PM, SM certification a must”. It is almost as if the organizations want to tell you how mature they are, and how much they understand the Agile “fad! But really, it is almost an aspect of human nature – we all want to get more for less, we all are looking for a deal. This is just an attempt to get two roles for one person. And while you can combine some roles, others just don’t work out so well. Today, let’s talk about one of these toxic mixes – the SM and PO, speaking to the SM/BA combination.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Inspection and Adaptation

The least understood and most ill used ceremony in the Scrum toolset has got to be the Retrospective. More teams request to be excused from this exercise than any other, and most coaches, and some practitioners are always happy to oblige. It turns out that the humble Retro is absolutely the most powerful tool in the Scrum toolset, and more than any other tool can take you from one level of performance to the next – if you let it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Being American

There is an interesting thing about America - it tends to creep to all areas of our lives. It is a funny thing, and everything we do tends to reinforce it. From sports, to work to politics, to religion - we now need it to "be" American. It was not always the case, but as we progress more and more, it creeps into our culture in unavoidable ways - and leads to an interesting condition and dysfunction. In our current culture, we see things in pairs - always two, and ONLY two sides to everything. There has to be a winner, and a loser. There has to be a "good" and a "bad". It is summed up in the immortal words of Ricky Bobby "If you ain't first, you're last". And it is now true in almost every activity we try to do.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Unexpected Help

Sometimes, you get help from the least likely places. And in the least likely ways. It seems that when projects get to a point of closure, all of the issues that a team has refused to look at come crashing in – almost always at the same time. But every once in a while, something unexpected happens and the troubles are averted. You see, every once in a while, against all odds – people listen, and more importantly, do something about it.

It reminds me of a fishing story I have been meaning to share. Not ALL blogs have to be about boring stuff!! No, some can and should go right into the mystical realm – to illustrate a point. You see, one of the things I I enjoy doing best is fishing – the solitude and the immersion into nature is extremely healing and refreshing to me, and I never seem to have enough time to do this on a regular basis. But on this occasion, I did. I had moved to a new city not long ago, and had adjusted and began to research fishing spots to replace the near idyllic one I had left behind. To boot, I had found some friends, and fishing had changed – ever so slightly. We had gone to a nearby lake, and had a few adventures and some laughs – a really nice time to aid with the transition. But on this cold spring morning, I found myself alone, in the new spot, with an overcast sky and a deep sense of loneliness.